Originally posted on WHYGAVS?  |  Last updated 10/25/11
What, exactly, makes a player valuable? This isn't a unique observation, but that's the obviously problem with picking the "Most Valuable Player" award. Take, for example, Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun. Kemp and Braun were pretty identical in almost every way in 2011. They hit for average and power and got on base a ton and played bad but not awful defense and ran the bases well. Kemp hit a few more homers, Braun a few more doubles and triples. Braun's OPS was a smidge higher, but Kemp played in a tougher park. We could go on forever. Some people will vote for Braun solely because his team made the playoffs and Kemp's didn't, but I'm not one of those people. Kemp has a noticeably higher WAR than Braun at both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference. Why, when their stats are almost indistinguishable? It's because he's a center fielder; center field is a premium defensive position and left field isn't, which means that offense is harder to find in center field and therefore it's more valuable th...
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